Today was flights 37-41. The first one was to 5,000 feet. The tow was smooth. I boxed the wake twice and it wasn't difficult at all. After release, Jim demonstrated stalling in a slip and in a skid. I got to try both. I was surprised by the speed we picked up during recovery. But that was nothing compared to the sprial dive demonstration. We pulled 3 or 3.5 Gs coming out of the spiral dive. It got to my stomach a bit. I'm sure it'll be easier next week when I have to perform the manuver. Before I knew it, we were at 2,000 feet and it was time to land. After finding out that Jim wanted me on runway 31 instead of 24 (which is what he told me on the ground), I got in the pattern and landed just fine. Since we were in N7531 again, he had to do the radio calls. Hopefully we'll fly 64E or 87R next week. I like them more anyway.

The second flight was to 1,000 feet. We released downwind in the pattern and I jumped right into to my landing checklist. (My release was a bit low, but not horrible.) The landing was good--I touched down just where I wanted. The other thing I noticed was that I'm sub-consciously picking up landmarks for my pattern on 31. I line up with a major road on downwind, turn near the big warehouse-looking building, and so on.

The third filght was my frist simulated rope break. Jim pulled the release right as we hit 200 feet. I put the nose down, performed a 180 degree left turn (45 degree bank, just as we discussed) and landed back on runway 13. I was surprised and how easy the manuver was. I expected the rope break to be more stressful. Granted, we had just talked about it and I knew he was giong to do it, but still.

The fourth flight was another simulated rope break. Jim didn't tell me what he had planned. When I asked (just before takeoff) his response was something like "well, stay with the tow plane as long as you can..." so I was suspicious. He pulled the release right about the time we reached 15 feet of altitude. The towplane hadn't even taken off yet. So I pulled the airbrakes, put the nose down, and landed on what remained of runway 31. My first "foreward rope break" went pretty well.

The fifth and final flight was another 200 foot rope break. Well, it was closer to 250 feet. Jim wanted it to be surprise and it almost was. I expected to be towing up a few thousand feet or maybe a rope break at 600 feet. But just before takeoff, the tow pilot made his radio call and I heard him say that he was going to tow us to 200 feet and we'd be returning on runway 13. Oops. He spoiled the surprise. The good news is that he break went just fine. Jim asked me to aim for a particular point farther down the runway, and I hit it pretty well.

All in all, it was a fun day. The rope breaks helped to build my confidence for low-altitude problems. And the slipping and skidding stalls were interesting. I just wish the spiral dive hadn't gotten to me so much. I just need a bit more work on my touchdown attitude. But I'm feeling really good with pattern and landings now.

Posted by jzawodn at January 03, 2003 11:10 PM

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